The world’s longest bridges are undoubted architectural and engineering marvels. Although bridges provide a physical link between two places, they have evolved into significant landmarks with breathtaking views. Bridges aid tourists, goods, and services across distant locations, thereby boosting the economy. The majority of them have also made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. With technological advancements, architects and engineers have built by extending structural elements, giving rise to the viaduct bridge typology.

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According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Viaduct is a type of long bridge or series of bridges, usually supported by a series of arches or on spans between tall towers. The purpose of a viaduct is to carry a road or railway over water, a valley, or another road.” (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2021)

Here is an insight into the world’s longest bridges so far, listed in decreasing order of overall span.

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1. Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, Jiangsu, China

Total length: 164.805 km
Bridge type: High-speed rail
Year of completion: 2010

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the ‘world’s longest bridge.’ It is a part of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line. It stretches from Shanghai to Nanjing, parallel to the Yangtze River, and traverses the Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou. Moreover, it passes through some parts of Danyang, Changzhou, Wuxi, and Kunshan. It was designed and built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). 

Around 10,000 people were engaged in this massive project for four years. Passengers witness several canals, rivers, lakes, valleys, and lowland rice paddies on this spectacular ride.

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Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, China_©Luo Chunxiao, Imaginechina, Shutterstock

2. Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct, Taiwan

Total length: 157.317 km
Bridge type: High-speed rail
Year of completion: 2007

The Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct in Taiwan is currently the ‘second-longest bridge in the world.’ It is an essential part of the Taiwan high-speed rail network. It begins in Baguashan, Changhua County, and ends in Zuoying, Kaohsiung. It crosses over many fault lines and is thus designed to withstand earthquakes so that the train passing over it can be safely stopped during tremors to avoid accidents.

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Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct, Taiwan_©Wikimedia Commons

3. Tianjin Grand Bridge, Hebei, China

Total length: 113.69 km
Bridge type: High-speed rail
Year of completion: 2010

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The Tianjin Grand Bridge in China connects Langfang to Qingxian. It carries the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line. The elevated track comprises a series of box girders weighing 860 tonnes each. The primary function of this bridge is to link metropolitan cities to facilitate business travel.

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Tianjin Grand Bridge, China_©Wuyouyuan, Wikimedia Commons

4. Cangde Grand Bridge, China

Total length: 105.81 km
Bridge type: High-speed rail
Year of completion: 2010

Like its sisters, the Cangde Grand Bridge is also a part of the high-speed railway line connecting Beijing and Shanghai. It has a total of 3092 piers and has been designed to withstand any seismic activity easily.

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Cangde Grand Bridge, China_©Siti Hasanah, www.keluyuran.com

5. Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge, China

Total length: 79.732 km
Bridge type: High-speed rail
Year of completion: 2008

The Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge stretches between Zhengzhou and Xi’an in China. It traverses the Wei, Luofu, and Xi rivers, among other railways and highways. It employed more than 10,000 workers during its construction, utilized 45,000 tonnes of steel and 23,00,000 cubic meters of concrete.

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Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge, China_©www.interestingfactsforkids.wordpress.com

6. Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB), Pearl River Delta, Greater China

Total length: 55.717 km
Bridge type: Expressway
Year of completion: 2018

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“Three cable-stayed bridges, an undersea tunnel, and four artificial islands” make up the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. It carries six lanes of the G94 Pearl River Delta Ring Expressway. On its way, this bridge-tunnel system crosses the Pearl River estuary, Lingding, and Jiuzhou channels. It links Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macau to promote “the economic development of the Greater Bay Area” (Wikiwand, 2021).

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Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Greater China_©ARUP

7. Bang Na-Bang Phli-Bang Pakong Expressway, Bangkok, Thailand

Total length: 53.95 km
Bridge type: Expressway
Year of completion: 2000

The Bang Na-Bang Phli-Bang Pakong Expressway, commonly known as the ‘Burapha Withi Expressway,’ is a six-lane elevated motorway that runs above NH-34, along the banks of the Pakong River and through several Thai cities. This gigantic project helped to enhance the urban networks and systems in and around Bangkok. It is regarded as the most extensive precast concrete construction ever carried out.

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Bang Na-Bang Phli-Bang Pakong Expressway, Thailand_©Blue Planet Studio, Shutterstock

8. Beijing Grand Bridge, China

Total length: 48.153 km
Bridge type: High-speed rail
Year of completion: 2010

The Beijing Grand Bridge is yet another masterpiece on the list that provides transit on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line. Even though the railway route extends to Shanghai, the Beijing Grand Bridge terminates in Langfang. People frequently get caught up in the thought of bridges seen in Hollywood movies when they pass through it. The most notable benefit of this bridge is that it establishes a link between the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai economic ring, thereby enhancing trade.

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Beijing Grand Bridge, China_©www.fishki.net

9. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Metairie and Mandeville, Louisiana, USA

Total length: 38.442 km
Bridge type: Highway
Year of completion: 1956 (southbound), 1969 (northbound)

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The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, often known as ‘The Causeway,’ runs from New Orleans to Mandeville and comprises two parallel bridges that cross Lake Pontchartrain in southeastern Louisiana. It spans from one bank to the other in a straight line. Moreover, it is the Guinness World Record holder under the ‘longest bridge over water (continuous)’ category. “Babies have been born here while approaching the hospital at the opposite end, and an aircraft had landed safely on the bridge when it ran out of fuel while flying over the lake” (Atlas Obscura, 2021).

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Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, USA_©Glennaa, Flickr, Creative Commons

10. Line 1, Wuhan Metro Bridge, Hubei, China

Total length: 37.788 km
Bridge type: Metro
Year of completion: 2004

Line 1, Wuhan Metro Bridge, connects the cities of Wuhan and Hubei. It holds the record for the ‘world’s longest metro line.’ Because it is elevated, this bridge is also known as the ‘Light Rail Line.’ Many cities’ traffic difficulties have been alleviated as a result of the development of this railway line. Zongguan, Taipingyang, Qiaokou, Chongren, Lijibeilu, and Youyilu are prominent Chinese cities that this railway line travels through.

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Line 1, Wuhan Metro Bridge, China_©Zhou Guoqiang, www.chinadaily.com.cn
References

Atlas Obscura, 2021. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. [Online] Available at: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lake-pontchartrain-causeway [Accessed 17 September 2021].

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2021. Viaduct. [Online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/technology/viaduct [Accessed 16 September 2021].

Wikiwand, 2021. Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. [Online] Available at: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Hong_Kong%E2%80%93Zhuhai%E2%80%93Macau_Bridge [Accessed 14 September 2021].

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